Orlando, Florida’s HOTBOII cannot be stopped. The artist born Javarri Walker blew up in 2020 with his breakout smash, “Don’t Need Time,” followed by his debut project Kut Da Fan On and later a remix with Lil Baby. Across Fan, HOTBOII taps into his pain and turns it into fuel, propelling him across 41 hyper-realistic and melodic minutes of contemporary hip-hop goodness.
Whether breathless or singing his heart out to heal himself, as on “Yg’s,” the pulse of HOTBOII’s music is lithe. The hurt of Kut Da Fan On comes, in part, from the two years Walker spent in a youth behavioral correction program. Though HOTBOII was rapping prior to his time in the program, Kut Da Fan On was written, in part, during those years.
HOTBOII’s voice is emotive and elastic. His range is impressive, but it’s how he raps in cursive which makes him one to watch. On “Gram House Blues,” he hopscotches over the production. On “Don’t Need Time,” he weaves his delivery into the fibers of the piano-led beat. While Kut Da Fan On closer “Go Up” features more traditional trap drum patterns, the jittery flow HOTBOII brings to his outro makes it particularly lively.
It’s clear HOTBOII uses music to cope and restore himself. The stories on Kut Da Fan On, as well as his latest project, Double O Baby, out today, revolve around his darkest moments and his hatred of being down. HOTBOII’s hustle drives his music. Beloved by fans, who DM him “every day,” explaining his story has inspired them, HOTBOII has a bright future so long as he remains honest from song to song. Thankfully, truth seems like the artist’s second nature.
At what point did you realize you wanted to rap?
I was young, real young. Since I can ever remember.
How did Florida shape your sound?
Florida and me trying to be unique really helped me.
You spent two years in a youth behavioral correction program. How did that time shape you as an artist and as a person?
It made me realize, if I’m gon’ be an artist, I can’t be sitting [in the program]. I gotta do this for real. I gotta rock it for real. The program helped me realize that. Shaped me as a person? It made me antisocial. Back then, I took my life and freedom for granted. [Now,] I can’t do anything to jeopardize my life, future, and career. It changed my outlook on life. Back then, I was a kid, so there wasn’t no consequences.
“Don’t Need Time” was your breakout moment. Did you realize you were making a hit at the time of recording?
No, I did not. What’s crazy… I was supposed to shoot a video, and I was gon’ shoot a different song. Then I had made that song.
How does it feel to have a hit under your belt?
I ain’t gon’ lie—I feel like I got more than one hit. But it feels good.
What was the most surprising part of crafting and releasing your debut project, Kut Da Fan On?
The most surprising part is, some of those songs I made when I was in jail. People wouldn’t expect that. They wouldn’t expect me to get out the city with raps that’s two years old.
You pour your heart out on the project, too.
It’s easy. I just think back, reminisce, and try to bring back the feeling I had when I was in jail, down, or feeling some type of way. Then I go in the booth.
Which one of your songs is most important to you?
“Don’t Need Time,” of course, and “Police Brutality” and “Gram House Blues.” Those three are the most heartfelt. “Gram House Blues” is not a sad song, but it’s very heartfelt.
How did that project get you ready for Double O Baby?
My first project, that was my first project ever. It helped me studio-wise. How can I explain it? My first project, I was just recording, recording, recording. Whatever goes on there, goes on there.
[For Double O Baby,] I strategically made this song to grab these people, this song for these people… Every song I made was for the album. Last time, I was just recording. It helped me recording-wise. I record faster, better. I know what I’m looking for and aiming for now.
What do you hope the new project does for your career?
Turns me into a superstar!
Are you ready for that?
I’m ready right now.
Who do you hope to inspire with your music?
I hope to inspire anybody who’s been down, feeling depressed. I hope my music uplifts others. I hope my music does the right things for people.